By Michael Woods
There is a movement, a shift, an acceleration occurring.
It’s not tectonic but you can feel it.
Women’s boxing is getting more love, buzz, attention, in the US.
The 27 year old Amanda Serrano headlines tonight (Wednesday) at BB King’s in Manhattan, on a show promoted by Lou Dibella, who seems to be at the forefront of the buzz burst.
Dibella also promotes Brooklyn’s Heather Hardy, who is soon set to engage in a grudge match with Rhode Island’s Shelly Vincent, maybe on a Showtime card.
I chatted with Serrano trainer/manager Jordan Maldonado about the “Broadway Boxing” event against Canadian Olivia Gerula. “Yeah, we are excited it’s finally happening. This is probably a tougher fight then the two that fell out, due to the fact that Olivia is a battle-tested warrior who has amazing wins over Kaleishs West and Jelena Mrdjenovich. She has been extremely active, just fought a few weeks ago.”
OK, talk to me.. Is this, on paper, 26-1-1 Amanda’s stiffest test? “Not her stiffest. We’ve had a few. Ela Nuñez, who we got a draw against. Also traveling over-seas to fight Frida Wallberg in a fight we know we won. She was a standout amateur and good pro. Maria Maderna too. She was huge and in Argentina, no one ever wins there,” he said, chuckling.
For the record, the WBO featherweight title, now vacant, will be up for grabs.
So what’s the on paper game plan for the 17-15-2 Gerula? “Well, Olivia is a warrior and is coming to fight, we will oblige her and give her what she thinks she wants, a war,” Maldonado said. “We are going to entertain our fans. Amanda CAN box but fans come to see a fight. We owe it to them to give them what they pay for. Others play it safe but our motto is, ‘If we wanted to play it safe we would have chosen another sport!’ Can’t be in the hurt business and try to play it safe!”
Serrano herself talked to NYFIGHTS after weighing in Tuesday. “Well, we feel really good! We predict a stoppage, that’s the plan but the distance is something we can do as well!”
Serrano was 126 on the dot and the Canadian was 123.2.
I also touched base with Gerula. “I am excited to fight. About me, I have been a world class professional boxer for 19 years. I am a two time world champion with every intention of making it a three time world champion.”
And how did she get into boxing? “Growing up I was a competitive gymnast and a provincial soccer player so I had strong, muscled legs with great flexibility, so I figured I would be awesome at kick boxing. From there I went into Muay Thai and then straight to pro boxing, the rest is history.”
Tell me please about your nickname? “I earned the name ‘The Predator’ rightfully. I stalk my prey and am relentless in my attack. I have an aggressive style, am an inside fighter who can actually box when I stop letting my hands fly.”
What about Serrano?
“Serrano is no joke. In over 35 fight this will be my first against a southpaw so should be an interesting experience. I have been warned never to fight her in New York but regardless of that I am stepping into the home town of the number one ranked fighter and planning to flip the female boxing world on its ass!”
Tell me about the game plan? “In order to earn the WBO world title I have to keep my guard up, watch out for her hooks, give plenty of my own and counter with accuracy. I will have my work cut out for me but then so will she!”
And, I wondered, did Serrano pick up any vibes off Gerula?
“She seemed confident but that comes from all her experience. Won’t help much in the ring, though!”
Tickets for the Broadway Boxing are on sale and are priced at $125, $100, $75 and $55. Tables are also available for purchase for this event, with VIP tables going for $1,000 per table (5 seats at $200 per seat), Ringside tables for $500 (5 seats at $100), and $375 tables (5 seats at $75). Tickets are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. Doors open at 6:30pm with the first bout scheduled for 7:00pm.